Ripa Harbour, 750 AD

From marketplace to sea port

International trading centre

Only on rare occassions does the Viking farmer have errands to Ripa Harbour. The smell of tarred ropes, fish and sweaty seamen fills the air, and he quickly has to jump aside to escape a couple of barrels that suddenly come rumbling down the landing stage.

Hardworking  slaves are dragging heavy quern stones towards the marketplace while well-dressed traders unload baskets carrying beautiful Frankish pottery and delicate drinking cups of glass. Foreign tongues mix with the boat builder's hammering and cheerful laughter from the nearby weaving workshops. Ripa Harbour is a bustling hub of activity and a gate to the surrounding world.

Reconstruction in Ribe VikingeCenter

The Viking Age harbour in Ribe is yet to be found and excavated mainly because the exact route of Ribe River back then is unknown. The archaeologists, however, are very certain that such a harbour did exist in the 8th century. The large amounts of imported objects which have been found in the excavated marketplace on the river in Ribe, indicate that an extensive trade with particularly Southern Europe took place.

The well-documented harbour in Haithabu (Hedeby), the Viking settlement near Schleswig, has served as inspiration for the reconstruction of Ripa Harbour in Ribe VikingeCenter.

The harbour consisted of a number of landing stages which over the years had been extended and joined. Therefore, bigger ships with deeper draughts were also able to land very close to the marketplace.


The reconstruction of Ripa Harbour, 750 AD as well as Ansgar Church, 860 AD are the two major elements in Ribe VikingeCenter's project 'Denmark's first Christians". The reconstruction work takes place from 2015 till the end of 2017 and is supported by A.P. Møller og Hustru Chastine Mc-Kinney Møllers Fond til almene Formaal.